Apartment Plans Amount to Cultural Appropriation

It is our belief that more housing options are needed and that development is a critical aspect in keeping the cost of living reasonable for our residents. Also, the concept of “cultural appropriation” has often gotten out-of-control, pushed to absurdity by the excesses of political leftists. But every once in a while these two items intersect, and in this case it leaves a poor taste in our mouths.

DPC Cos, a Denver-based company, is working through the process approval for an apartment complex at the intersection of Shea and Scottsdale. The complex is named “Cosanti Commons”, which strikes at the heart of the problem.

Perhaps you’ve heard the word “Cosanti”, or more likely “Arcosanti” before. They both refer back to the same source; a man named Paolo Soleri. Soleri was a legend in architectural circles; born in Italy in 1919, he came to the United States to work with Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946. After a brief stint back in Italy he came to Arizona for good in 1956, where he built the renowned “urban laboratory” Arcosanti and became a distinguished guest lecturer at Arizona State University.

Soleri, while not known by too many in the area and certainly not as well known as his colleague Frank Lloyd Wright, was a true icon. Additionally, his time spent in the area (from 1956 until his death in Paradise Valley in 2013) represent a considerable dedication to an area often known as a transient stop in life. While he was far from perfect (notably accusations of sexual abuse), his works had great weight, and come with names that should be valued and preserved.

Enter DPC, using this term with no local ties. An out-of-state company helicoptering in with plans for an apartment complex and co-opting a significant local brand without any attachment to it, without having put in the time and effort to honor, respect, and do justice to the gravitas of the brand.

It amounts to a cheap ploy to appeal to an audience without putting the work in. It amounts to stealing the glory of others for your own personal benefit. Soleri would certainly be rolling in his grave if he knew about it, but since he doesn’t, the onus is on us to reject these sorts of tactics. For those of us who respect our area and the history and culture inherent in it, we deserve better.